There’s No Place Like Home

Covid-19 Statement from Leealary:
I just want to let all of my viewers know, in this time of hardship and uncertainty, we want you to know our first priority is our clients health and well-being. I pray for you and your families that you will stay safe, and well. We will get through this. Keep positive, keep busy around your home’s do what you are able to do, utilizing what you have, to spruce up your home’s decor, that will keep your mind off of this ordeal. I myself am self-isolating, let’s keep connected. Continue to email me or call the business phone number if you just want to talk. I am here for you. Leealary

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For online consultation. For face to face consultation there will be a small fee charged.

Decorating Your Home with Character

I bought a little 900 square foot condo, it was old and had that 1980s look to it. A great fixer upper with so much potential. I’m going to take you on a little journey as I renovate and decorate this little home. While the renovations were going on I had to leave for a while because of work so did not get pictures of the kitchen before the contractor started the demo.

The kitchen had old cabinets that were stained in a dark blue, the appliances were black fridge, dishwasher and stove, which I have pictures of below. They were pretty scratched up and with some broken parts and needed to be replaced. On the floor was gold and brown vinyl flooring typical of the 80s. Up in the bathroom there was a pink toilet seat, old style sink and someone had painted the old cabinet white, which had been the same blue cabinet as the kitchen, with a gold laminate counter top and an old outdated yellowing bathtub surround as you can see in the pictures below. On the floor was white tile as you can see typical of the 80s. We ripped out a green shag rug that had been in the living room and up the stairs as well as in the bedrooms, and where there was no shag, there was the same yellow and brown vinyl flooring. Get the picture? So I hired a contractor, we ripped everything out and started with a clean slate. Let’s start with before and after pictures of the kitchen, so you can see just how beautiful you can make your space with updated renovations.

Below is the kitchen just freshly dry walled, not painted yet.

Before:

 

 

 

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decorated this kitchen in neutral tones and added colour in my accessories. Stainless steel appliances and quartz counter top that is a soft sand colour with brown flecks throughout. The sink is dark brown granite which picks up the brown flecks in the countertop. The back splash has stainless steel pieces embedded throughout as you can see on the left-hand side of the photo and the outlet covers are also stainless steel. Antique white cabinets with a dark brown edging around the face if the doors and dark espresso engineered flooring. Stainless steel appliances to pick up the back splash and stainless steel pull-down kitchen faucet. The total gut, renovation and interior decorating of this kitchen turned out awesome.
Eventually I will use this condo as a rental unit.

Before Picture:

This is how the bathroom looked before with the pink toilet seat. LOL

    

Bathroom after: Brown ceramic tile now adorns the wall surrounding the bath tub. The tile on the floor that compliments the brown tile for contrast, is in gray. The dark wood cabinet with a white molded sink adds a touch of luxury, the faucets are in a brushed nickel and the mirror over the sink is the same dark wood as the cabinet, the toilet now has a white toilet seat. I layered drapes over the shower curtain to add colour and the towels match it perfectly. Walls are painted a lighter grey than the tile on the floor. The picture on the wall picks up the gold in the drapes.

So you see by changing and updating a few things, then adding colour, and accessories, you can make an out dated room look fresh and beautiful. If budget is a factor, you can use products that you already have, like paint that you have lying around giving your room a face lift, so to speak. Even if its the same colour it will brighten up the room and give it a clean, fresh look. Side note; a fresh coat of paint on a scuffed up wall will brighten up a room and give it a fresh crisp, clean look.
As I finish each room I will post the pictures on this page.

Living room before and after

           

I specifically want to talk about the focal point. In my living room it is my fireplace. In the pictures below I want to show you how I decorated my mantel so it is balanced. So here is my fireplace devoid of any decorations and than a second picture of the finished look. I added the stone to the front, which before had a black laminate front, I took that off and glued the stones on with “no nail”.

So here we have a fireplace that’s not decorated it’s empty and boring. I did find these great metal horse shelf hangers at a flea market and I thought it would be unique to use them to sit my painting on instead of hanging it with picture wire. Then I found these little angels and decided to use them for my lanterns.

Here is the finished look. The fireplace has become my focal point, it is banked with a brown leather armchair on one side and the TV stand on the other, which balances that side of the room. Pictures flank each side. I love this faux candle lantern, it is the perfect size and the 2 white decorative candle holders of varying sizes I bought on my trip to Yellowknife NT adds a touch of class, on the other side. Then I put 2 special rocks I collected on the same trip to Yellowknife, on the right-hand side, one is a fossil stone of prehistoric sea creatures the other I found not too far from the fossil stone it looks like a potato to me, with veins of different colours through out it, I thought it unique. I pulled in some greenery from outside set the plant in a wicker serving tray and for a whimsical touch I added a deer head peaking out through the greenery. The colour theme is a mixture of golds, reds, sage green and white. The fireplace is a traditional style but opted to stone in the front to bring more of the natural elements into the room. The walls are painted in Benjamin Moores antique pearl 2113-70, It’s a soothing relaxing colour that brings depth to the space. It’s a hue that excites and inspires with a clean, crisp look. I also continued the dark espresso engineered flooring for contrast into the living room so that there was a look of consistency throughout the house.

I redid my fireplace wall since I posted this blog as you can see above there is a total transformation. I painted the wall in the brown and added the gold leave design then put crown molding at the top and molding down the sides to frame it. no-nail holds the molding in place.

       

Antique pearl 2113-70 from Benjamin Moore

Putting Color Palettes Together

I love putting colour palettes together. So many beautiful colours to work with. Here is just a couple of variations:

Graphic charcoal, Exotic Eggplant and Sugar Maple from Behr paints, such fun colors to work with. I would use this in an office. The Graphic charcoal would be my feature wall which would consist of a bank of custom shelving and cupboards that would extend wall to wall and floor to ceiling. The other walls would be the lighter hue of the sugar maple likely 75%, the floor would be a wood flooring stained with a matching sugar maple colour, my accent colors would be a combination of all the colours including the vegetable colours which would be in some throw pillows and in the area carpet as well as in photos on the wall. I would use a true white draperies to contrast the shelving unit. The sugar maple color for my blinds toning down the hue again by 50%. Two side chairs in a striped fabric tone on tone of the exotic eggplant. That is how I would use these dramatic colours.

Before Winter (orange), Amiable Orange (gold), Azure Lake (turquoise).

These would be great for a bathroom. I would keep my walls a neutral colour like Benjamin Moores Frappe, see below colour sample. Using the rest of the colours as my accent colours. Before Winter, would be my main colour, Amiable orange, the secondary colour, and the Azure Lake, my accent colour.

Colours are amazing, It’s all about what your style is, your character, and what moves you. These are just some ideas to get you thinking. Go look at all the colours you can choose from in paint stores, look at colours around your house like paintings, or photos. Pick your colours from something in your home that is special to you. Just like the painting I found and chose my colours from. The sky is the limit, there is so many colours to choose from. Benjamin Moore has great colour choices as does Sherwin Williams. I use both, the colour variations differ for each company and so I choose the paint that gives me the right colour, shade, and hue I need at the time.

Next I have put a colour board together, so you can see colour, texture, and patterns as come together. The colour board below is in neutral colours. I picked mardi gras Rona 1051-4( burnt orange) which is a fantastic accent colour, Brazilian citrine Behr s-310 (that beautiful green) as a secondary colour. A white and sage green jute area rug, turquoise and brown fabric for an accent chair (not shown because it would have to be custom-made). My sofa and second arm chair will be the burnt orange linen sofa fabric, throw pillows that pick up the accent and secondary colours. My walls will be painted creme fraiche S240-1 from Behr and an accent wall will be painted the Glidden mocha mauve 60YR30/094, which is the colour on the top portion of the board. Even the flower arrangement adds colour and texture. So this is how you get an idea of how all your colours, textures, patterns and ideas look together. There is computer software out there that decorators and designers use today to do this, however I like using colour boards along with the computer.

Let’s talk about Furniture and what to look for when buying your sofa or armchairs. When looking for furniture you have to make sure that the frame of the furniture is good. Too many times you buy what you think is the perfect piece and within a year or two something breaks on it usually the legs or parts of the frame will split. The frame splitting sometimes can be due to the environment you live in. Dry or moist climates can cause problems with the wood frames check and make sure that the frame is properly kiln dried at the manufacturing plant for your environment. The best woods for the frame and legs are oak, beech or ash. Pine is cheaper but is a soft wood and tends to warp and get wobbly. Cheaper furniture is made of particle board and will not stand the test of time. Plastic or metal frames are not recommended either. Make sure the legs are part of the frame and not separate unless they are attached with screws and or dowels not glued only. The fabric has to last, won’t fray or pull apart at the seams and be stain resistant. The legs have to be strong to withstand moving, jumping on as children will do, and constant use. Some up graded sofas and chairs like Stylus Furniture have a zippered opening that you can look into and see the frame, then you actually see what you’re getting. test the frame by lifting up one end, a good frame will lift up off the floor on both sides evenly. You can then tell how sturdy the frame is, you will feel it. Also, make sure the frame is connected together with dowels and metal screws, not stapled or nailed. Testing the springs if there are springs is also a good idea. Springs over time can begin to squeak and become annoying, make sure they are solid and are eight-way hand-tied springs. Also feel the springs through the fabric to insure they are place close together and sturdy. Webbing or mesh sofas are not recommended they are uncomfortable to sit on and tend to become unsteady. One more thing, check the cushions, polyester fiber seating is inexpensive, but will flatten out over time and deteriorate over time. Goose or down cushions will clump up. THE Best type and reasonably priced are the HR foam that are layered with down and foam wrapped in polyester batting. I know Stylus upholstered furniture will last for years, I’ve had one for 6 years and it still looks new, now my Son has it and with a 3 year old who loves jumping on it, it still looks good. He’s had it for 4 years now. A side note ask for the manufactures information on the frame joints to be sure of what you are buying.

This is a picture of the sofa I had. Mine was in a colour called mink, a beautiful dark chocolate brown microfiber, which stands the test of time, is washable, stain resistant and child proof.
The best fabric for sofas and chairs is cotton or linen try to find one with a tight weave so it doesn’t snag so easily, and the new synthetic microfibre that Stylus uses, which is stain resistant and can also mimic most fabrics.

So I found this magnificent chair on Amazon by Homelegance, I love the tuffed back, the luxurious velvet fabric, decorative studs on the arms and the colour is to die for, Indigo Fabric by Homelegance. It has a great rating of 4.1 out of 5. Introducing the Charisma Accent/Arm Chair

Here’s the Review:

4.1 out of 5 stars 63 ratings

Price: CDN$ 252.21 & FREE Shipping. Details

New (1) from CDN$ 252.21 + FREE Shipping

Blend stylish button tufting and nail head trimming to Modern Traditional upholstery.

English arm features low armrest for added comfort.

No-sag seat construction along with dacron seat cushion for long-lasting comfort.

Durable wood frame with Cherry finished wood legs can support up to 240LBS. Fabric Content: 100% Polyester. From Amazon.ca Easy assembly (Legs Only).

Some things to look for when choosing furniture would be:

  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Features
  • Fabric
  • Colour
  • Texture
  • Style
  • Size
  • Price

The space your putting the furniture in must be planned, this is called space planning. That is why your measurements are crucial. Comfort is a consideration. In a formal living room you would want more of a hard style seating. A family room probably a much softer seat. A Media room would have a sofa that reclines and is comfy with maybe cup holders in the arms and fabric that will be stain resistant which could be leather.

When choosing your furniture, decide what you are using the room for. How do you want the furniture to look? Pick pieces that build on the feeling you want to portray. For example in a cozy feeling room you will want gentle lighting in the room, soft fabrics and warm colours. If you want an elevated feeling choose clean sharp lines to your furniture using metal for accessories and bright dramatic colours for fabrics. Remember your focal point and how you want your seating arrangement to be placed, around it. If it is a small room you might want to incorporate storage within your furniture, like cabinets with shelves, compartments with doors and drawers, banked on one wall with an opening big enough to place the television. Or, a coffee table with a compartment that opens up for storage. When choosing your fabrics remember your colour pallet. Remember texture, how do you want the fabric to feel, do you need stain resistant fabric because of the children and what about patterns. That is why I love colour boards, when my swatches of fabrics are glued to my board, not only can I see the colours and patterns together, but I can feel the texture of the fabrics, a computer program won’t give you that, so like I said, I like using both hand in hand.

Pulling colours, patterns, and textures together is, I have to admit, an art. The basic step is to imagine. When you look at the room you want to decorate, you have to imagine how you want it to look and feel. Once you have that idea, then you want to go out and get your colour palette together. Just like the colour board above, lay it out so you can see it all working together. Draw out your room, like a blue print so to speak, on graft paper with your measurements, so you can plan your space. Keep in mind your traffic patterns and the spacing rule of 3′. Take your colour board with you when choosing your paint and fabrics and other items like furniture, paintings excreta. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns together like stripes and flower patterns or herringbone and geometric shapes as long as you remember your visual compliment. Rule of thumb for patterns is, using at least 3 patterns in varying scales. Using colours of the same intensity and distribute the patterns evenly throughout your room. Break the patterns up with solid colours. No longer do patterns have to match, like draperies and pillows all the same colour and pattern. Mix them up get creative and use complimentary colours in your patterns coupled with solid colours to break up the patterns. I will talk about patterns and their different features in more depth in another blog.
Pictures Paintings and Photos: When choosing pictures or paintings for your walls, the theme can be your colour palette. Instead of using all floral paintings, all landscapes, or all animal pictures, be creative they don’t have to be the same. Like in my living room for example, my pictures are a mixture of landscapes, people and houses, however all have the same golds, reds, greens, and browns in them and all the frames are gold colour. Use variety to add interest. In the kitchen if you are a plate collector, as my Mother was, you can make an interesting collage on one feature wall. When it comes to family pictures group them together on a wall going up the stairs or if your using portrait paintings of people group them with the paintings in the same room on a smaller wall, using different shapes of frames, like ovals and rectangles and maybe a square frame in the center. Use the same colour palette as the larger portrait paintings in your frames on an opposite wall to distribute those colours evenly. Use white and black frames together or dark brown and gold frames. Be creative and be bold.

           

There is so many ways you can bring colour into a room. I like going to second hand shops and finding paintings of French barista fronts and wine shops, so my kitchen has quite a few of them on the walls. Below I are some of them. Also below is a great plate wall for a kitchen.

I had some wallpaper lying around and one day when I was looking at my kitchen I noticed the area between my fridge and the window where I have an antique cabinet, looked a little on the rough and a little boring so I decided to wallpaper that area instead of paint. I thought some texture would beef up that area and give it a more warm, appealing feel. So here is the area before and after.

    

Just another way you can change the look of a space without spending a lot of money, even if you had to buy a roll of wallpaper it doesn’t take much. A double roll of wallpaper may cost you $30 to $60 dollars and you have a new-look.

Here is a few of those pictures I was telling you about, that I used to bring colour into my kitchen including the one above. I paid anywhere from $5.00 for the big one to $15.00 for them, decorating on a small budget.

         

Master Bedrooms

Before Pictures of my Master Bedroom during renos Looks like the subcontractor keeps fit while he works, the dumbbell in the middle of the room.

             

Master bedroom finished. The other side of the bedroom is not quite finished yet, when it’s done I will post it on this blog.

Conclusion

The home we live in is our sanctuary, we work in our homes, play in our homes, sleep in our homes. Our homes speak of who we are, our character, our likes and even our dreams. When we spend money on our homes we want to get our values worth, so spending our money wisely, whether we have a large budget to work with, or a small budget to work with, it is all hard-earned money and we need to get our moneys worth. Decorating wisely is paramount. Let’s not kid ourselves, choosing furniture or anything else in our design plan can be stressful. Are you a traditionalist, modernist, scandinavanist, hmm is that a word? Well you know what I mean. Maybe you like bohemian, or Caribbean ocean on the beach style, whatever your taste, make sure you plan your design carefully and with much thought. Remember each room has its character, do your research when choosing your style. Remember, bedrooms are for relaxing, living rooms for entertainment, cozy nights curled up on the sofa with a book, or watching TV, kitchens need to be energized, for cooking, and entertaining. Example: I have a wall-to-wall – floor to ceiling picture window in my kitchen, in the summer I love sitting in my breakfast nook looking out at the flowers and listening to the birds sing while drinking my coffee, if someone comes over I love to sit and entertain in my kitchen in front of that window, so I want the kitchen to be colourful and energized. Utilize decorating books and use the tools you’ve got in paint stores, for your colour palette, fabric stores for your swatches, grafting paper to plan your space, and if need be, email me or call me for if you need help.

Redneck Furniture Calgary Alberta Canada

I ran into a man who makes awesome rustic furniture. I bought a piece from him and I would like to promote his furniture on my website. Below is a few photos of his work, including the piece I have. If you like rustic hand made furniture this is his website is. Tell them Leealary sent you from dyidecoratingdesigns.

https://www.redneckfurniture.ca

   Sofa Table  

      Picture and bench

                  

These are just a few of the items he makes, everything is custom built. Whatever you want he will make. Call him at 403-605-0548 and his email is redneckfurniture@gmail.com. Let him make something very special for you. I just love my sofa table. (I will get a small commission for this referral.)

Happy Decorating, Leealary

email: distinctivedecors20@gmail.com

phone: 403-369-6993

Please leave me a comment below and let me know if I can help you with your designs or if you have a question about anything you’ve read or want clarification on. I would love to hear from you.

About Decorating with Leealary

Hello my name is Leealary, and I am so glad you stopped by.

I’ve been an Interior Designer for 41 years. I love helping people create a beautiful sanctuary in their
homes bringing out the character of the home, in a way that shows the personality and essence of the people and the environment they live in. Using elements such as paint, lighting, space planning, accessories, and window coverings to enhance the features of the room. The difference between an interior designer and a decorator is a decorator needs no formal training, or certification to start a decorating business on the other hand, am interior designer goes to school for 3 to 4 years and is certified with a degree.

Designers use Colour Trends, Window Coverings, Accessories, Flooring and pulls it all together. My goal is to help you do this yourself by giving you ideas, reasons why and helping you pull your design together. This website is an educational platform in the do’s and don’ts of Interior Decorating. So come on board and let”s have fun.

 

YOUR STORY

I am a Mother of 4 and Grandmother of 9. I now live in Calgary Alberta. I have always loved transforming homes through creative decorating. When I was 12 I would go into my friends homes and ask their Moms if I could rearrange their countertops or their living-rooms. They always said yes and always got rave reviews from them. By the time I was 16 I knew that Interior Design was what I wanted to do. In 1976 I took a 3 year interior design course and graduated certified in 1979. I started in the design business in Ontario in 1979. My first project was a club called the Junior Ranks Club in Kingston Ontario and pulled Tall Pines Interiors run by Bill Stevenson in to help me with the project it was a big job the dance hall, the dry bar, the games room and 4 offices had to all be renovated and decorated. My business name was Distinctive Decors. I later branched out and designed holiday themes for Country Club Shopping Mall in Nanaimo BC. I worked as the Senior Interior Designer for Norwalk Furniture, Kelowna British Columbia in 1994.  I retired in 2015, however my passion is still to help people bring out the beauty in their homes and decided to open up a Do it yourself decorating platform to help people understand how to decorate, the science behind it and that decorating is all about YOU, your desires, your needs and passions. So here we are.

I believe 2020 is the year to bring color back into our lives. That mustard coloured chair or that candy apple red vase, or gold damask draperies. We’ve used white for the past couple of years, more than enough, though white is crisp and clean and can be the blank canvas for colour, I believe the browns, reds and golds are coming back, or what about cobalt blue my favourite. That hint of the Victorian era. Or maybe an Art Deco theme, red, white and black. Whatever you create it is your blank canvas that you start with and it will allow you to incorporate your ideas, your theme into your home and create a space fit for a Queen.

 

WHY YOU WANT TO HELP PEOPLE

Decorating is a personal choice, a desire for change, update, renew and beautify. I have seen old, tired homes come to life and the satisfaction one has when they enjoy the new room freshly painted, and a pop of color to spruce up a tired outdated spot, new window coverings to adorn the windows, new floors that create sophistication, new kitchen cupboards and new paintings on the walls that add inspiration and accessories that bring a delightful interest. I’ve heard gasps of amazement and words like “is this our home? I never thought it could be so beautiful.”” Change is good and sometimes we all need change. Decorating brings in elements that take a home to a higher level and embraces it’s character. That is why I have decided to help you, the home owner, through my website.

 

THE GOAL OF YOUR SITE

My goal is to give you the education and even ideas if needed, to do it yourself. Help you plan your spaces, purchase your furniture wisely, hang your pictures in that perfect spot, and help you choose your colours to tie everything together to create your beautiful home. Give you the pleasure of seeing it all unfold before your eyes and at your hands and the pride it will give you when you stand back and say “I did this”.

If you wish to infuse new life into your home and furnishing that give you timeless appeal, let DYI Decorating Designs help you achieve this, feel free to read my blogs or email me at the email address above or even call me if you need answers right away. Please take the time to read my blogs and view my portfolio, I know it will spark the Decorator in you.

All the best, and thank you for reading my introduction page

Happy decorating,
Leealarey, Interior Designer

Decorating Yourself Interiors, Decorating Designs
email: distinctivedesigns20.com
phone: 403-369-6993

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